Around the Bend: The name game


Each year there is published a listing of the most popular names in the United States. My boomer generation from WASP suburbs matched the list in my day: John, Mary, Tom, Mike, Susan, etc., all the standards. In this era of very creative African-American names, the names of previous black generations match mine. I know black women named Sharon, Cynthia, and Janice.

They have become distinctive (and a lot easier to spell!). With the homogenization of this country’s culture, one would think that this would apply to names. However, since living in the south all these years, I have been repeatedly surprised by names I had never heard of and I have a sense that they go way back. I would characterize them as first names that sound like last names. Gender is indicated. Here is a sampling of a long list I have compiled: Hawes (m), Pryor (f), Thane (m) Tarpley (f), Clarkson(f), Tupen (f), Archer, Morgan (f), Tucker (f), Kendall (f), Tryon(?), Watts (?), Ames (?), Grier (?), Cabell (m), Willoughby (f), Struthers (f), Stoner (?).

The gender unknowns could go either way based on the others! I am glad for these staunch, regional names. And,I am sure that in New England one could compile a similar list of character names.
Viva la difference.

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